Oh dear. Where to start with this one? I was on holiday, saw this on the Borders clearance pile and lugged it back home. It was lucky I didn’t need to pay excess baggage otherwise I’d be really annoyed. This was the time the movie Dear John was released, I simply assumed that that was the reason it was on sale.
The real reason? This book is a stinker. Boring and preachy.
We are told John is a wayward teen who straightens himself by joining the army (we don’t get to hear much about his rebellious teenage years). Coming home on leave, he rescues Savannah’s bag and they fall in love. Savannah is a good college girl – she goes to church, doesn’t drink, doesn’t swear (even asks others not to swear) and is quite chaste. There’s nothing wrong with that, but Savannah comes across as preachy, something that no real girl could compare to. Maybe that’s because this story is told through John’s lovesick eyes? Anyway, John has to rejoin his unit, so the lovebirds are parted. 9/11 happens (rates about two sentences) and John stays in the army. Then he gets his own ‘Dear John’ letter. He can’t stop thinking about Savannah and eventually goes to find her, with gooey consequences. There’s also a distant father-son relationship thrown in here.
This book was really clichéd to me. It has all the ingredients for a sugary chick flick, but I found it contrived. I’m sorry that John spent all that time pining for Savannah and that his relationship with his father only improved in his later years, but he needed to move on.
The best thing about this book? You can read it really quickly.
I haven’t read The Notebook but I don’t think I will.
Read it if: you need a sugary book that you can see the ending from a mile off.
3 out of 10.